A few weeks ago I was feeling restless. It was a Friday night after a long week, full of assignments and little sleep. I was reflecting over the first month of being here, how my language abilities were coming along, and how much I missed the people I had left behind.
I did not want to stay in Neuchâtel that Saturday, but I had no other plans. Distracted, I flipped through some collected travel photos of places I want to visit. Normally this collection of photos is filled with far-away places, only now many of these places are not so far away. When I came across a postcard-perfect town of Spiez, something awoke inside of me and I thought, “Why not?” With traveling it is easy to give excuses as to why we can’t, but sometimes the act of deciding is the hardest part. So I decided to go the next morning. It was 11:30 at night.
I woke the next morning, walked to the train station, bought a ticket, and jumped on a train. It was that simple. The freedom of the train system is intoxicating…go to the right platform, jump on the right train, and you can be anywhere you want to be. There is something in me that rejoices in the freedom of spontaneous travel. The simplicity of no agenda, just the day before me full of promise and possibility.
I brought my notebook to journal and Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad to read on the train. While reading I came across a beautiful quote that seemed reflective of the day: “Nothing could be more absolutely certain than that we are enjoying ourselves. One can not do otherwise who speeds over these sparkling waters and breathes the soft atmosphere of this sunny land. Care cannot assail us here. We are out of its jurisdiction.”
The town was breathtaking. From the train station I had a bird’s eye view of the blue-black water in the lake and the castle rising sharply next to the banks. I could see vineyards and forest to the left and snow-capped peaks to the right.
There is something so right about going somewhere new, seeing wild expressions of beauty, to talk to strangers, to understand pieces of a culture–to live. Traveling makes me open my eyes in a way where everything is fresh and full of wonder. It also makes me grateful for daily blessings: potable water, a strategically placed restroom, a good lunch, friendly people, the blue sky and the sun overhead that lights up the town with a shocking vibrancy.